[Question #5256] HPV Question

22 months ago
I'm kind of found myself in the dating scene after many years away from it hence my earlier question about testing and now this question.  So I dated a girl for a couple of months and we never had intercourse just mutual masturbation and she gave me oral once.  Before any sexual activity we talked and she said she had a clean pap smear and with a negative hpv about 6 weeks earlier.  I believe these types of test check for HPV-16 and 18.  She wasn't with anyone after the test until me. I hadn't been with but one person ever and I'm almost certain I was her only one over a long relationship and prior.  So I know everyone has hpv it seems, but what are my chances of getting the HPV 16 and 18 from this girl?  We have broken it off and I'm concerned I could pass it along to another. I know these usually clear by themselves buy would be embarrassed if the new girl had a positive hpv test at her annual exam.
22 months ago
I forgot to mention there was a lot of deep mouth kissing during our time together.  Also, me and the recent girlfriend are both in our mid 40's and I'm certain she has had a few partners in the past.  Seems like I read somewhere HPV may be more prevalent in younger people as older folks may have had it and cleared it.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
22 months ago
 Welcome back to our forum. Your question is far reaching and complex. I will try to give brief answers and point you in the right direction however to more fully understand HPV and it's importance ( or, more accurately lack of importance )  in terms of transmission risk I would urge you to seek more information at the American sexual health Association ASHA) general website and by reviewing other responses that we have made two other clients regarding more specific questions. 

 I should also add that when Pap smears are tested for HPV they are typically tested for for far more HPV types then just types 16 and 18. 

 You are correct that given both your prior partner's few prior partners, your own few prior partners, and your recent partner's negative test for HPV that your risk for infection is quite low.   On the other hand, HPV is acquired, on average, at a rate of over 10% per year even amongst individuals with only a single partner following the onset of sexual activity.     For these reasons, when someone has discovered to have HPV there is simply no way to determine who they acquired it from. 

 Bottom line, your risk for HPV is low as is therefore your risk of transmitting it to others. If this is something that you are particularly concerned about, I should also point out that the FDA has recently approved the HPV vaccine for persons up to age 45. While you  might have to pay for the vaccine your self, if this is a major concern, the current HPV vaccine is very very effective for preventing the nine most common types of genital HPV. 

 I hope the information I have provided is helpful and begins to move you in the right direction. As I said above please check out the website and our other responses to other clients.   EWH
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22 months ago
Very helpful, thanks.  So as a followup:
1.  If she tested negative for the "dangerous" hpv types vaginally, what are the chances she had these types orally?
2. You stated my chances were quite low fo
r acquiring and transmitting.  Is quite low 1%? 10 %? 20%?  I read that oral carries a much lower risk than intercourse and even with intercourse it only passed about 20% of the time in a six month study of couples having regular sex with one infected with hpv.
3. If the dangerous kinds are acquired, what's the average time to clear in healthy people?
4.  In the girls case, given her age and a few partners is there a good probability that she had had the dangerous kinds and cleared them?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
22 months ago
The rapidity of your response suggests that you did not take my advice and learn more about HPV.  That remains my recommendation.  Further your use of the word "dangerous" indicates your misunderstanding regarding the health risks of HPV infection since over 98% 9conservatively) of higher risk HPV types DO NOT go on to caner or pre-cancerous lesions.  

In answer to your questions:
1/  There are no data to inform this question with precision but clearly the risk is very low. FYI, oral HPV rates in women are more than 10 times lower at the throat than they are at the cervix.
2.  Same answer- there are no good data to help answer this.  I would guess less than 10% of acquiring HPV from the activities you describe and probably far lower.
3.  Nearly all HPV infections clear without therapy over a period of two years.  
4.  Most sexually active persons will have and clear HPV infection. there is no reason that she (or you) should be any different.

EWH
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22 months ago

Dr. Hook,

Thank you for your time today.  I did take some time to read the information (and watch the videos) on the website.  Very helpful as well. 

You are aware better than me, but our brains like concrete answers and with HPV since men can't test it always leaves the uncertainty that you don't have say with HIV which appears to provide very good tests to close the door on being infected.  Not comparing HPV to HIV by any means.

Be nice if there was a HPV test for men to give further confidence that you aren't going to infect some one in the future.    But as I have learned, even IF I am infected currently and IF I passed it along to some one else, the chance of consequences are quite low.

Again, thanks for your help.


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
22 months ago
Thanks for your follow-up.  I'm pleased that you appreciate that even if you are infected, and even if you passed the infection on to another person, the chance of consequences is vanishingly low.  I would add that if you and future partners follow recommended health care practices (i.e. reproductive health care checks for women, dental check ups for persons who have performed oral sex, dermatologic evaluation if skin/genital lesions are noted) any HPV-related problems that might occur are highly likely to be detected and can be addressed readily.

As you may know, we provide up to three responses to clients. This is my 3rd response.  Thus this thread will be closed shortly without further responses.  Take care.  I wish you well.  EWH
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